South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi Crowned Miss Universe 2019

Miss South Africa has snagged the crown this year for Miss Universe.

Zozibini Tunzi won the 2019 Miss Universe pageant on Sunday night, beating out nearly 90 other women from various countries and territories in the annual competition.

Tunzi, 26, is a public relations professional and activist whose platform is largely based on her fight against gender-based violence, according to her contestant biography.

“She has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes,” her bio reads. “She is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.”

Tunzi edged out her runner-up, Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson, as well as Miss Mexico Sofía Aragón, who came in third place.

“I’m so ecstatic,” Tunzi told reporters after her victory.

As she did on the stage Sunday night, she also spoke candidly about the importance of diversity and how her own life had been shaped by racial attitudes.

“Society has been programmed for a very long time that never saw beauty in a way that was black girl magic, but now we are slowing moving to a time where women like myself can finally find a place in society, can finally know they’re beautiful.”

Tunzi said she was bringing “a new, fresh and different perspective of what South Africa is.” And she said she hoped to lift other voices up as well — so that, as a chorus, they could be heard.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Rachel DeSantis and Adam Carlson